Mark Hamill’s performance as the Joker in Batman: The Animated Series remains one of the most iconic iterations of the character, especially because of his voice. Hamill has now explained the inspirations for his Joker performance and how playing the character is a different experience every time.
“I don’t do it consciously, but I look back and I think I was a weird kid,” Hamill said on Sway in the Morning. “I had four sisters and two brothers and I was like the only eight-year-old who said, ‘how’s my Richard Nixon,’ which is weird for an eight-year-old. I would imitate the old Universal horror films and I realize, in retrospect, I wasn’t doing it consciously, but Claude Rains as The Invisible Man. [As Rains] ‘Crazy? You think I’m crazy? I’ll show you who’s crazy!’ So he had sort of the grit that I incorporated into it. And I said to voiceover people later, I would do a character and I would say, ‘It’s sort of like Howard Cosell meets Jay Leno. Is that a cheat?’ And they said, ‘No, we do that all the time.’ People don’t even realize, you take elements. I don’t do a very good Jay Leno, but just [as Leno], ‘Ya know, that cadence,’ And I’ll use people all the time. [As Harrison Ford] ‘I’ve even used Harrison Ford.’ I have lots of influences.
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“I would say, with The Joker, he’s different every time you play him,” Hamill continued. “You try and play him like the first time you’ve ever done it. In one script, he’s meant to be really menacing and another was a parody of Thelma and Louise where Harley and Ivy teamed up and Joker was left shuffling around the apartment in furry slippers and totally cuckolded, so he was played as kind of a goof in that one. So he’s different every time. That’s the way I look at it. But, boy, I’ve had so much fun doing it.”
Batman: The Animated Series ran from 1992 to 1994 with 85 episodes produced. It also made Kevin Conroy popular for his take on Bruce Wayne and featured several high-profile voice actors, including Ron Perlman as Clayface and Roddy McDowall as the Mad Hatter.
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